Taking Care of Your Teeth with Braces
Getting braces is almost a rite of passage for middle school or high school students. Braces do a remarkable job of straightening teeth and correcting the bite, but your orthodontist needs your help to give you the best possible results. Keeping your braces, teeth, and gums healthy is critical to getting you to that beautiful white smile you’ve always wanted!
Brushing Teeth with Braces
As important as good oral hygiene is without braces, it’s even more critical for brace-wearers. Tiny food particles can get caught between the brackets and wires and cause tooth decay unless you are absolutely diligent about proper brushing. Always choose a soft-bristled toothbrush, and make sure that the head of the brush is small enough to reach even your back teeth. Add a small strip of fluoride toothpaste, and move the brush in small, circular motions. Be sure to cover all areas of the teeth, brushing upward on the lower teeth and downward on the upper teeth, front and back. Don’t forget to thoroughly brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth before you rinse and spit. We recommend that brace-wearers brush their teeth a minimum of four times each day, especially after breakfast, after lunch (or right after school if this isn’t possible), after dinner, and right before bed, with nothing after the final brushing except water to drink.
Flossing Your Teeth with Braces
While it is true that flossing takes more time with braces, it’s also true that it is even more important with braces. Using dental floss enables you to reach the plaque bacteria that may be hiding where your brush can’t reach. If it isn’t removed, the plaque bacteria can result in tooth decay, gum disease, and white spots on your teeth after the braces are removed. If you’re finding flossing difficult, talk with your orthodontist or hygienist. There are special tools that can help make the process easier, including floss threaders, which actually help you “thread” the floss between and around the wires and brackets.
Foods to Avoid
It seems like you can always tell which kids at the lunch table have braces even before they open their mouths just by looking at what’s on their lunch tray. While brace-wearers can eat most foods without difficulty, there are a few that are best avoided. Our advice is to avoid anything that is likely to get stuck because it is either very sticky or very hard. Candies like caramels and gummies are especially way too sticky, popcorn kernels can get stuck between the brackets, and hard foods like corn chips and nuts can break your braces and send you running to your orthodontist’s office. Most larger foods are ok, but may be easier to eat if you cut them into small pieces, especially in the beginning.
At Innovative Orthodontics in Savannah, GA, we are committed to providing you and your family with the high standard of orthodontic care you deserve. To schedule your consultation, call us at 912-354-3474 today!